North-Eastern residents to get IDs in 21 Days as gov't reviews vetting requirement

North-Eastern residents to get IDs in 21 Days as gov't reviews vetting requirement

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok (Right) compares documents with Moyale MP Guyo Wako and Mandera North MP Abdullah Bashir Sheikh during a meeting on issuance of IDs in Northern Kenya region. PHOTO| COURTESYa

The Government has begun steps to address historical registration challenges in North-eastern Kenya and surrounding counties to ensure residents in the region receive National IDs within three weeks.

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Prof Julius Bitok announced on Tuesday that the government will review policies on the mandatory vetting of residents in Tana River, Isiolo, Marsabit, Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera counties, which has been a precondition for issuing IDs and other registration documents.

The PS said the review would be subject to Cabinet approval.

“This meeting kicks off the journey towards eliminating vetting of persons from northern Kenya. We are determined to honour the President’s commitment to ensure all Kenyans are treated fairly and have equal access to Government’s services. We will ensure IDs are delivered within 21 days," said the PS.

He was speaking at a meeting with MPs from the six counties aimed at fast-tracking and promoting the registration of residents in the vast region.

Led by North-eastern parliamentary caucus chair, Ali Rasso Dido, who is also the Saku MP and the leadership forum’s chairman and Mandera North MP Abdullah Bashir Sheikh, the MPs urged the government to eliminate vetting, which they see as discrimination and a significant challenge for residents pursuing birth certificates, IDs, and passports.

PS Bitok said the Government would rely on community elders, chiefs, and their assistants to ensure processed IDs were delivered on time. 

The MPs asked the government to prioritize hiring locals from the region to promote confidence in the registration process and inclusivity in public service.

The chair of the President’s Council on Economic Affairs Dr David Ndii rooted for the elimination of vetting, arguing it was counterproductive and exposed members of affected communities to radicalization and anti-government groups. 

“Communities that feel discriminated are more vulnerable to radicalisation. Ethnic profiling is wrong. It is our responsibility as the government to end it by removing barriers and inconveniences brought about by country borders and in place of it bring about equality in government services and resource distribution,” said Dr. Ndii.

Vetting became a requirement for issuing ID and birth certificates in Northern Kenya following the Shifta insurgency of the 1960s, which the Northern Kenya communities view as ethnic profiling and discrimination.


Julius Bitok National IDs

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